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Gijón, Asturias: a Spanish city on the up.

The name of the Spanish city of ‘Gijón’ may not trip off the tongue like Seville, Granada or Santiago de Compostela, but it’s a seaside town with much to offer which has seen a host of improvements over the last ten years.

Originally considered little more than an industrial town (it was the port from where much of the area’s coal was exported), its Musel harbor area has been modernized and is now the starting point for Spain’s first ‘maritime highway’, a sea route from Gijón to St Nazaire near Nantes in France.

However, it’s the new Botanical Gardens, its five year old seafront Aquarium, the huge restored ‘Universidad Laboral’ cultural centre and a large thalassotherapy three-storey spa which are drawing the tourists. That’s in addition to the natural attractions of the sweeping beach of San Lorenzo, the attractive marina harbour area and the smaller Playa de Poniente where you can practise water sports.

Gijón also has a vibrant nightlife and some excellent fish and seafood restaurants that will delight foodies. Those in need of a little retail therapy can head for the Calle Corrida and the small streets around the Plaza del Instituto where you’ll find some tempting boutiques and shoe shops.

Easy Jet flies to Asturias Airport from London Stansted or you can take the ferry to Santander, which is an hour and a half’s drive from Gijón. August is a good time to visit when visitors can join in the ‘Semana Grande’ (Grand Week), with music events and street entertainment at various venues. The highpoint is a spectacular beach firework display on the night of the 14th which is not to be missed. Enjoy!

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